Selected readings on US charter schools
California added 104 new charter schools to its roster this year, including 19 in Los Angeles Unified, but it still has some 50,000 students on waiting lists for the independent campuses, according to a report released today..
In its annual update, the California Charter Schools Association said enrollment statewide jumped 10 percent to 519,000 students as the number of charters grew to 1,130, the most of any state.
Nearly 137,000 students attend the 248 charters operating in Los Angeles Unified, with 13 additional charters on track to open next fall. More than 20 percent of Los Angeles Unified students are enrolled in charters — both independently run schools and affiliated charters, a hybrid model that gives traditional schools greater autonomy while retaining ties to the district.
According to the association report, the region that includes Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties added 45 campuses, the most of any area in California. LAUSD is the authorizing agency for most of the charters operating in its boundaries, with the Los Angeles County Office of Education overseeing the rest.
“Parental school choice is alive and well in California,” said Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the charter association. “Over the next several years, I think we will continue to see significant additional momentum to what has already been a very robust growth picture for charter schools in California.”
The explosive growth of charter schools has spurred controversy in Los Angeles Unified, including disputes over the allocation of classroom space at district campuses. Nearly one-third of the charters in LAUSD share a campus with a traditional school.
Although charters are financed by taxpayer money and are considered public schools, they are often compared with private schools because they are free of some of the regulations and policies governing traditional campuses.
Source: Los Angeles Daily News – by Barbara Jones